Xenophobia is defined as ‘the fear and distrust of that which is perceived to be foreign or strange; the dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries.’
Every system and institution in both the UK and the USA was created intentionally to serve the interests of white people. Deep-rooted and racist social divisions persist, illuminated by mass shootings and the burning of churches, and the sharp increase in violent xenophobic, anti-semitic and Islamophobic attacks. Harmful religious and political dogma is being reasserted, teaching people to favour nationalism and white supremacy. The unapologetic resurfacing of xenophobia is a sign that people are losing their sense of humanity, forgetting that racial and ethnic diversity is a fundamental element of humankind. There is a growing movement to introduce anti-immigrant laws, promoting the idea that immigrants are dangerous and fuelling the harmful ‘Us and Them’ divide.
The Trump administration wants to build a wall across the border to Mexico, and in November 2018 the UK Prime Minister Theresa May declared “We will take back control of our borders, by putting an end to the free movement of people once and for all.” It is infuriating that the ‘free movement’ of people is somehow perceived to be a loss of control. White people need to let go of their sense of entitlement to authority over minorities. Immigrants are not commodities to be controlled; immigrants are people in search of a safer, better life.
Freedom of movement is a basic human right. People do not flee their war-torn countries so that they can ‘steal our jobs’. They do not come to the West as “drug-dealers, criminals [and] rapists”. Statistically speaking, immigrants pose little to no threat towards general public safety and any ‘fear’ of them is a result of internalised prejudices and negative stereotyping. As humans, it is our duty to uplift others, not deny them help and compassion. Advocacy for immigrants’ rights is simply a recognition of basic moral and social principles.
History is repeating itself and we must unlearn our irrational, bigoted prejudices before we completely destroy the essential unity of humanity.
The Writer Behind the Writing
Sophie is 17 years old and is passionate about intersectional feminism and environmentalism. She is hoping to study English Literature at university and is interested in pursuing a career to do with human rights.